Top Music Artists From the 2010s

Top Music Artists From the 2010s

It was a decade of new sounds, many of which still fill personal playlists for those who enjoy dipping into nostalgic memories. The artists in the list below cracked the code and made their names known as their hit singles topped the charts, engraving their names into the minds of music lovers throughout the globe. Discover the top music artists from the 2010s, including hit songs from that decade not too long ago, and details on how they each rose to fame.

To compile this list, 24/7 Tempo referenced various sources, including the New York Times and Entertainment Weekly, among others. Although many of these artists haven’t been chart-toppers for decades, these musicians have risen to the top of the charts fairly quickly. Here are the top music artists from the 2010s. (Click to read about the most iconic music videos ever made.)

1. Drake

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Known for being incredibly prolific, Drake filled the charts with a multitude of songs in the 2010s, some of which include “Shot for Me” in 2011, “Child’s Play” and “Hotline Bling” in 2016, and “Passionfruit” in 2017. A Canadian native, Drake was born October 24, 1986, ready for stardom. In his teen years, he starred in the popular TV show, “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” Though his acting career had proven successful early on, Drake was ready to move into the rap game. Shortly after he left the show, he signed with Young Money Entertainment, Lil Wayne’s record label. Drake released Thank Me Later, his first studio album, in 2010. It topped both Canadian and American album charts, and his music kept soaring along with his popularity.

2. Rihanna

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Yet another top music artist from the 2010s, Rihanna, released a plethora of music, including some collaborative works with Drake. She featured in Drake’s “Take Care” in 2011, and he featured in her “Work” in 2016. Her hits were plentiful over the years, including chart-topping songs like “Only Girl (In the World),” “Stay” in 2012, and “Love on the Brain” in 2016. Born on the Caribbean Island of Barbados in 1988, Rihanna made her move to the U.S. at age 16 to start working on a demo album. She had hit after hit before 2010 when she released her album, Loud, proving yet again her talent is endless. In 2012, her album, Unapologetic, earned her a Grammy. In 2014, she moved from Def Jam to Jay Z’s Roc Nation record label.

3. Justin Bieber

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In 2010, Justin Bieber was only 16 years old. Yet he had the hit song “Baby,” which featured Ludacris. He also collaborated with Usher on “Somebody to Love Remix” that same year. 2010 was a vital year for the pop star as it was when his popularity skyrocketed, and he became known globally. Bieber was born in 1995 in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. He grew up with his mother, who took the initiative and started posting her pride and joy on YouTube. His videos caught the eye of Usher, who signed Bieber only two years after those initial YouTube postings. Though he got into some trouble for irreverent behavior in his early years, he recovered his fanbase in 2015 with his number-one song, “What Do You Mean?” By 2017, he had broken an all-time record with his song “Despacito,” which he collaborated on with Luis Fonsi.

4. Nicki Minaj

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Not leaving anything to chance, Nicki Minaj was steadfast during her rise to fame. In 2010, she released “Here I Am” and “Catch Me.” By 2014, she had multiple songs, including “I Lied,” “The Crying Game,” and “Shanghai.” She continued making hit after hit, collaborating with other artists, including Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, Wiz Khaifa, and Chance the Rapper, among others. Minaj was born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago, and spent her first five years there before moving to New York. Her home life was tragic, and she used what she knew as fuel to become someone better. She signed to Young Money, Lil Wayne’s music label, in 2009. Since then, it’s been nothing but an upswing for Minaj.

5. Taylor Swift

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Starting at age 16, Taylor Swift was known as a country singer. Her early music included songs like “Superman” and “Long Live” from her album Speak Now. But her music was destined to shift so she could become a mega pop star. She has been awarded 14 Grammys, and the 2010s were just a stepping stone for her to get where she is today. She was born In Reading, Pennsylvania, where she enjoyed a self-described “magical” childhood. She started singing in public at age 10 and began learning how to play the guitar at 12. She signed her first music contract at age 14. Her fifth album, 1989, demonstrated Swift’s ability to explore different genres. It was when she started being recognized as a pop musician. Her success with the new genre was cemented after her release, and she spent 11 weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 charts.

6. Post Malone

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Affectionately known as Posty, Post Malone has developed a reputation for his musical artistry and his kind and compassionate personality. Malone was born in Syracuse, New York, and at age 10, started anew in Grapevine, Texas. His single in 2015, “White Iverson,” put him on the map as it rose to the number 15 spot on the Hot 100. His song, “Rockstar,” which he collaborated on with 21 Savage, became the number one spot. By then, he had momentum, and he continued topping the charts with more hit singles. He is not just a rapper. He also writes songs and produces records in several subgenres, including hip-hop and trap. It was evident early on that Malone was destined for fame as he was voted “Most Likely to Become Famous” during his senior year in high school.

7. Ariana Grande

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Ariana Grande

Known for hitting whistle notes, Ariana Grande’s rise to fame was due to her acting roles. However, her interest in music couldn’t be swayed. She released five albums in the 2010s, including Yours Truly in 2013, My Everything in 2014, Dangerous Woman in 2016, Sweetener in 2018, and Thank U, Next in 2019. Grande was born in Boca Raton, FL, and was already performing in her local theatre during her pre-teen years. After starring on two hit TV shows, one of them a spin-off, Grande was able to demonstrate her maturity as she transitioned into a full-time music career. She began collaborating with other well-known artists, including Iggy Azalea, Zedd, The Weeknd, and Nicki Minaj.

8. Katy Perry

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In 2010, Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” hit the radio waves along with “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F),” both of which exemplified her quirky pop style. However, that’s not how she started. Her first attempt at getting into music was with a gospel album. However, she completely changed her image and music in 2008 after signing with Capitol Records in 2007. Perry stayed on top of the charts in 2013 with her album Prism. In June 2017, she released her album, Witness, which debuted at number one yet again. She collaborated with several other artists in the following years, including Zedd and Daddy Yankee, before taking on the role of judge for the ever-popular show, “American Idol.”

9. Cardi B

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Former reality star turned Grammy award-winning rapper Cardi B has never been one to shy away from the camera. In 2017, she left the show Love & Hip Hop: New York to focus on her dream of making music full-time. Not one to waste time, she released “Bodak Yellow” soon after, which made it to the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Cardi was born in The Bronx, New York, and dealt with poverty, deciding to pursue stripping to help catapult herself into a different lifestyle. Without regret, she moved forward, eventually signing with Atlantic Records. She kept going, collaborating with other artists, including G-Eazy, Migos, and Bruno Mars. (For more musical collaborations, read the top-charting collaborations between legendary musicians and new artists.)

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